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June 3, 2006

How activists succeed

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You gotta love these activists. They sure are, well, active.

From conference to conference they go, talking to themselves and reassuring each other of the moral superiority of their anti-capitalist, anti-U.S., anti-corporate message.

And all funded, ironically, by U.S. philanthropic foundations. That's right--wealth that was generated through market capitalism, most often in the form of corporations based in the U.S., is being used to undermine the very source of that wealth.

This time it's the "Paris Accord." And which of the chameleoid groups is it this time? The "Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialog", which is an umbrella organization of US and EU leftist activist organizations.

The purpose of the meeting:

with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

This conference aims to bring people together to examine relations between creators and users, seeking to identify common interests and new opportunities to collaborate. Discussions will explore new and existing social and business models for the intermediary between the creative person and the consumer.

In particular, the meeting will look at models and relationships that recognize the creative community's desire to earn a living, the interest of the public in obtaining affordable access to works, and the interests of both parties in supporting an environment for creativity and innovation.


We hate markets and property rights. Yet we understand that creators have to make a living, unfortunately, since there doesn't exist an international framework (yet) whereby wealth is taken from the wealthy in the west and forceably transferred to the truly needy (at least, the people we think are truly needy). So we're gonna get together and try to come up with some scheme whereby creators and artists would make an income that we deem appropriate for their creative work. We don't trust markets (did we mention that?), and we hate property, so we can't allow the existing property rights-based system to continue to work. Even though even we have to admit that it works pretty well at generating lots of creative content. But we hate it, you see, so we have to design some new, untested system that hasn't a chance in Hades of working, and then we will try to impose it top-down on the rest of the world through international organizations. No sane developed nation would ever voluntarily implement our ideas, so we have to try to get them imposed from above through international organizations. Because we hate property and markets. Did we mention that? We like artists and creators, of course. At least many of them. But we hate property and markets. So we have to design a new system to reward creators (at least creators that we favor) and make sure they make a living (not too much, you understand, just the amount that we think is appropriate). Because we hate property and especially markets. Did we mention that?

This is how propaganda is done. A bunch of artists and activists who already agree are going to have a big meeting, and they're going to pass a resolution called the "Paris Accord" in which they all agree that intellectual property is bad, DRM and TPMs are bad, proprietary software is bad but Free Software is good, patents are bad but government-directed and controlled health R&D is good, etc.

And they'll propose some sort of tax, levied on something, that would go toward income for artists and creators. Not to corporations, of course. It's the corporations they'll want to PAY the tax. So, instead of a system where people voluntarily put their own money at risk in order to incentivize creation and innovation, which is what we do now, they'll come up with a system that uses government power to force people to invest money through taxes, and they'll want some panel of enlightened individuals (themselves) who will decide which artists get how much money.

Then they will promote this "Paris Accord" incessantly. We'll hear all about it at WIPO. All the activist interventions will mention it, press releases touting it will be distributed, papers will be passed out, and THEN they will demand that WIPO reorient its policies to reflect the conclusions of the Paris Accord.

They'll do the same thing at the World Health Organization (WHO), and at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). And they will assume great moral authority, and demand that these organizations do what they want, because the Paris Accord "represents the overwhelming consensus of civil society."
Notice what is happening here. Nobody elected these groups. Nobody nominated them. It's just a bunch of activists who have convinced a handful of wealthy liberals to spend some of their liberal guilt money to make up for the evils inflicted on the world by the capitalist who made the money and gave it to the foundation. They get together, manufacture an event, manufacture a document, and then demand that world organizations do what they want them to do because "civil society" has reached "consensus" on the issue.

It's an incredible scam. But it's effective.

Anti-U.S, anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist activists are having their way with these international organizations, and U.S. policy makers are asleep at the switch. And while the activists are well-funded, there seems to be little awareness of the importance of opposing these groups. Accordingly, almost no one seems to understand the importance of opposing these groups.

I write these posts, go to these kinds of meetings, write op/eds, etc. on this topic because U.S. POLICY MAKERS DON'T GET IT. They don't even know how this game is being played. And then the U.S. wonders why it gets rolled by these international organizations.

In a globalized economy, this stuff matters. But not to enough people who believe in markets and who love liberty.

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